It’s said that there is no better judge than our own conscience, but some people in this world still try to cheat others. At the end of it, they do not know whether they cheated the other person or cheated themselves. The silence of a person is often taken as his cowardice, but the conscience is the best judge. Young Zara found herself in a similar situation today.
Zara was just 16 when she had developed a flair for chatting on the internet. She was from an unprivileged family. Her parents had separated and she was living in the college hostel. The age was tender, the knowledge was half, desires were like a soaring kite and the world was full of colors. She was the only child, who like every single child longed for a blood relation, especially a brother. She would envy her friends who had brothers who stood like castles in front of them. She was quite religious and always complained to god for not giving her a brother.
Rakhsha Bandhan is an important festival in India, especially for sisters. On that day, the sisters tie a colored thread on the wrist of their brothers. This thread symbolizes the duty of the brother to protect his sisters forever. In return, the brothers take an oath to protect their sisters till the end of time. Zara had never celebrated Raksha Bandhan. Every year she would curse her life for not having a brother.
It was a beautiful evening and she logged into her chat messenger. She came across a very interesting person. His username really impressed her. She contacted that person. He was a simple man staying very far away from her world. He was an artist and his conversations were very different. There was not a hint of any selfish motive. This really intrigued her. She asked for his telephone number and decided to call him up once.
A few days later the artist received a telephone call from Zara. They talked for a while on general things. He definitely won her heart. Many days passed and they decided to meet once. He was on a vacation and planned to visit her city. Things happened as they were planned. They met. The artist was quite older than her. He talked to her as his own sister. Maybe it was a coincidence that he too longed for a sister all his life. He accepted her as his younger sister.
Zara’s life suddenly took a different turn. She was happy that day. She distributed sweets to the entire hostel. Days were happier now. The artist celebrated her birthday very lavishly. He invited her along with her friends to a famous restaurant in the city. The owner of that place was a good friend of his, so he decorated the entire place with red roses, as she loved red roses. That was the best birthday ever for her. She was filled with happiness.
Brother, thanks for making me so special. I love you.
Dear sister, I take an oath on your love and will never betray you.
The artist was now a demigod to Zara. He was indeed a good motivator. Whenever she was depressed, he brought her out and made her feel on top of the world. On her 18th birthday, he presented her with one of his finest poems. He narrated the poem to her.
In the song of flowers and stars, lives the divine love of ours. Here is a birthday song for you from the brother of Mars.
He threw a lavish party for her in the most expensive hotel in the city. There was music, dance, and dinner. He wanted the world to know that it was his loving sister’s birthday. The party was great and all the guests really enjoyed themselves. The artist was a rich man and by now, Zara knew this very well.
The winter vacations approached when the artist came to meet her in the college. She was all alone as there was nowhere to go. She was neither willing to go home nor did she have money to travel anywhere else.
Dear sister, please tell me about your dream place. I will take you there.
I want to walk in the clouds, brother. Can you take me in the clouds?
Yes, I can. I will take you to the country of clouds.
Where is the country of clouds? Brother.
It’s far away from this city. Way up in the north, near the highest mountain range in the country, the Himalayas. Yes, there is the country of clouds. I know the king. He is my good friend. His kingdom is very huge and the countrymen are so loving. Let’s go there; today itself.
She readily packed her bags and they started their journey through the rough weather, for a temple up above the highest peak in the mountain range. The artist visited that temple every year and this time he took along his sister to share the heavenly experience. The weather was very cold and the clouds covered the roads of the hills.
Zara’s dream of walking in the clouds was fulfilled by her brother. She was the happiest person on earth that day. Days passed by and the winds of change did embrace her, as she grew up.
One day suddenly she called her brother up and asked for a monetary favor. She said that she had met with a bad accident. The artist was very worried but unfortunately could not visit her. He sent the amount readily. It was of great help to her. She said that she was not able to attend an exam due to a fractured hand. He attended her very lovingly, but this favor made her a very dependable person, the worst part was that she became overconfident about her brother and started asking for more frequent monetary favors. The brother was generous and did not know her intentions. Even if he knew, he would not mind as for him the most important concern was to keep her happy.
As time flew, there was a considerable decrease in communication between the two. Zara had finished her college and found a job in a distant city. She found a new lover too. She remained busy with him. She now hardly communicated with her brother who was very concerned about this new behavior. He called her up many times but she tried to avoid him. So, the brother decided to go meet her one day. They met finally and she introduced him to her lover. He was a nice young man. They had a nice time together.
A year passed like this. There was very less communication between them. Time had changed young Zara from a loving sister into a cunning woman. She had different plans. She had decided to exploit her brother in all possible ways and run away to make her career because she knew very well that he was a simple person and never asked for any explanations.
He had anticipated some problems in the relationship but knew it would be tough to solve, due to distance. He was planning to visit her soon when one fine day; he received a letter from Zara.
Brother, I am off to Singapore for my further studies. Will study and work there. Thank you very much.
Lightning struck the brothers heart. He was stunned by the letter. His heart was shattered into pieces. He never expected this to happen. He had apprehended some negative responses from Zara, but this act completely bowled him out. All the good days came as a flashback to him and pierced him like thorns. He tried to contact her, but all in vain.
The artist, however, managed to be calm and not react. Nothing could be done now. After a year on the thread festival, he received a letter from Zara.
I am sorry, but I have hoodwinked you. I exploited you for my cunning needs. Do you remember the first time I asked you a monetary favor? It was not an accident; I needed money to throw a party to my friends, in your friend’s lavish restaurant. I really apologize for all favors I asked of you in these years. Thank you for everything. Please forgive and forget me.
A beautiful relation between them was ended. He was very sad about it, but who can fight destiny? He just sent a small reply back. Zara received the letter. She had no feeling of regret as she had done what she wanted. She opened the letter with a smile on her face. There was a small note in that.
Dear sister, I will never be able to forget you for you are the one I love most. If the teeth bite the tongue, no one breaks the teeth. My relationship with you transcends all monetary matters. Even if you have asked me for it, I would not have said no. you will always be in my heart. Tell me why? Are we so blind to see, that the ones we hurt are you and me?
There was a photograph. It was the photograph of the party she arranged for her friends some days after she lied to her brother about the accident.
The photograph was clicked by the restaurant owner, who was a good friend of the artist brother. He sent this photo by email to his entire friend’s group, in which the artist’s address was also added. She turned the photograph. On the back, the brother wrote—HOODWINKED?